International Conference on the
Effects of Light on Wellbeing



game experience lab

the experience of digital games as an individual and social phenomenon



Yvonne de Kort, PhD, MSc 
Associate professor

Environmental Psychology
Eindhoven University of Technology 
Human Technology Interaction (HTI)
PO Box 513 
The Netherlands

E-mail Y.A.W.d.Kort@tue.nl


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Research Interests:

The domain in which I am working is called Environment Behaviour Studies or Environmental Psychology. This involves the study of the molar, reciprocal relationships between behaviour and experience and the built and natural environment. As environmental psychologist, I specialize in the interaction between humans and their socio-physical environment. My main research interests are restorative effects of environments, psychology of light, situated social interaction and play (digital gaming), and locatedness in mediated communication and social interaction.

My main research focuses on:

Restorative effects of (natural) environments and light

Restoration literature has demonstrated that viewing natural environments (real, mediated, or virtual) is good for health and wellbeing. Moreover, natural environments are generally preferred over non-natural (urban, man-made) environments. Similarly, it is often claimed that human beings prefer natural lighting through windows to electric lighting. Daylight is also often said to improve individuals’ health, wellbeing and performance. It has been positively associated with mood and health in the domains of (environmental) psychology, chronobiology, and in (neuro-)endocrinology.

Both daylight and views to nature may serve human wellbeing by inducing positive affect and vitality, by speeding recovery and relieving pain, and by alleviating stress and restoring mental fatigue, or protecting individuals against stress’ negative impact. The two phenomena thus show strong parallels, yet to our knowledge these have not been thoroughly explored. This is perhaps partially due to the fact that the two often coincide (there is no view to the outside without light). Primary questions driving this research line are:

  • What characteristics of daylight can explain the differential effects and experience of natural as compared to artificial lighting? (this line of research encompasses both biological and psychological processes, but centres on the latter)

  • Can we disentangle the effects of daylight and a view on health and wellbeing and to clarify the underlying mechanisms?

The scientific ambition behind our research is to gain a better understanding of human functioning, in particular to define the mechanisms behind the beneficial effects of daylight and views.

Intelligent Light Institute

Eindhoven University has recently founded the Intelligent Lighting Institute ILI. The Intelligent Lighting Institute clusters the strengths of six TU/e departments in the field of intelligent lighting. Its aim is to develop new applications and provide the scientific proof that these applications will do what they promise to do. In other words, Evidence Based Research, combining interaction, psychology and systems. Researchers from the Human-Technology Interaction group (myself included) are involved in both of the major research grants awarded (I-lighting and ENSURE) and three of the four ILI research programs. My own research centers around three topics:

  • Natural Lighting Solutions: harnessing natural light for wellbeing and sustainability

  • Intelligent Road Lighting: How can we save energy yet assure personal safety and user acceptance street lighting

  • Lighting for emotion and wellbeing.

Dynamic Lighting field study Westraven

Investigates the effects of dynamic lighting on office workers' need for recovery and well-being.


Behavioural indicators of emotion and motivation during gameplay

FUGA - The fun of gaming: Measuring the human experience of media enjoyment, started Summer 2006. The main objective of the FUGA project is to create novel methods and improve existing measures in order to examine how the different aspects of gaming experience (e.g., different emotions and cognitions) can be assessed comprehensively with high temporal resolution. The operational goals of FUGA include the establishment of the construct validity, reliability, and predictive validity of the game experience measures that are based on the different measurement techniques (e.g., psychophysiological recordings, brain imaging). A further goal is to develop a prototype of an emotionally adaptive game. The innovative measurement approach provided by FUGA can be applied when designing new digital games for different purposes. Project within FP6 NEST (STREP) FUGA project site.


Gaming in Context: the role of social and physical environments on game interfaces and game experience

The Games@Large project intends to design a platform for running interactive rich content multimedia applications, such as games. Our goal is to develop and implement a user-centred design approach, and evaluate user experience and usability of the technology developed within the project. In addition, we will explore the influence of varying physical and social contexts of gaming, and study processes of (parental) control and involvement in gaming. Games@Large project site


Social presence in 3D, multi-party videoconferencing

The 3D Presence project will implement a multi-party, high-end 3D videoconferencing concept that will tackle the problem of transmitting the feeling of physical presence in real-time to multiple remote locations in a transparent and natural way. 3DPRESENCE project site


Contextual and situational cues for situated social awareness in mediated social interaction

PASION – Psychologically Augmented Social Interaction Over Networks, starts January 2006. PASION aims to enrich current techniques of computer mediated communication with new channels of communication to support enhanced non-verbal and implicit communication and improved transmission of context data; second to provide novel forms of support for communication among groups of users. Project within FP6 IST call 4 (IP). PASION project site


Experience and utility of virtual (computer generated) environments

The work aims to investigate whether, and under which circumstances and preconditions virtual environments could function as valid simulations of the physical environment for scientific research environments and is interested in discovering similarities and dissimilarities between behaviour and experience of real vs. virtual worlds. E.g. see: individuals’ behaviour in and experience of virtual environments, and VR’s utility for environmental psychology research.  

Other recent research projects were: 

  • The evaluation of children's daycare centers: the study comprises an extensive evaluation of childcare facilities in the Netherlands, funded by the 'Waarborgfonds Kinderopvang'. Data are gathered from 40 centers, using analyses of plans and drawings, interviews, questionnaires, checklists and walk-throughs; management, staff, parents and children all participated in the study. The aim is to generate valuable information to help give direction to future design of newly built or renovated facilities in this domain. see extended abstract, evaluatieonderzoek kwaliteit huisvesting kindercentra

  • The influence of bin design and placement on littering behaviour: the project aims to investigate in what ways design and placement of trash bins can help tackle littering problems. However, in order to be effective, a basic understanding of human littering behaviour must underlie any effort to control littering through design, placement, or any other environmental factors. The study comprises a literature review and then two empirical studies. In progress, will be reported later. Funded by the Stichting Nederland Schoon, CROW, and ROTEB. nationale zwerfafval conferentie 3 nov 2004.pdf

  • Healing environments, housing for the elderly and housing needs for psycho-geriatric patients. Various projects. pdf file Dutch Gebouwde omgeving en welbevinden 2004.pdf